Obama Approval Bleak According to Rasmussen, but is Presidential Approval Index Flawed?


Home / Obama Approval Bleak According to Rasmussen, but is Presidential Approval Index Flawed?

Rasmussen Poll Methodology

The poll from which the most recent approval ratings were gathered was conducted between December 10 to December 11, using a sample of 1000 self-described likely voters.  Rasmussen uses a combination of pre-recorded, automated dialing of landlines, and online polling. Polls delivered online are sent to random recipients who are part of a demographically diverse panel in which respondents have voluntarily chosen to participate.  Raw data is weighted for demographics, party affiliation and multiple adults in households.

Interpreting the Approval Poll Results

Analyzing only the most opinionated voters maye be more successful in midterm elections than presidential elections. Image by Lars Plougmann

Rasmussen’s general polling methodology is often at odds with several accurate polling standards defined by the NCPP. These include the use of automated interviewers, online polling, exclusion of exclusive cell phone users, and weighting for political party – all of which are controversial methods that many other pollsters avoid. This, combined with the possible unreliability of the approval index, calls the overall result into question. However, Scott Rasmussen stands behind his methods, and his polls have been praised for accuracy in the past by sources that include the Wall Street Journal and the center for politics at the University of Virginia.  The Presidential approval index may be beneficial when observed as a broad snapshot of public opinion, but several flaws in methodology, as well as Rasmussen’s own admission that it may not be reliable for 2012 analysis, may diminish its accuracy.


Rasmussen Reports. Daily Tracking Poll, Methodology. Accessed December 12, 2011.

Kleefeld, Eric. The Rasmussen “Presidential Approval Index”: Is This Newer Measurement Worth Anything?. Talking Points Memo. Accessed December 12, 2011.

NCPP. 20 Questions a Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results. Accessed December 12, 2011.

Return to Page One

Leave a Comment